<%@ Language=VBScript %> Forever Luckyīs - Mused - the BellaOnline Literary Review Magazine
MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Mountains by William Gibbons

Fiction
Forever Luckyīs

Ruthe McDonald

A full moon lit the highway with a silver glow. Light reflected off the freshly fallen snow. A fresh coat covered the stretch of highway that was occupied just a few short hours ago with Mack trucks, and drivers making their final deliveries before Christmas day. Nick found himself at Luckyís Diner, off I-95. It was a long trip from California to New York. He didnít mind, though. He had no one to rush home to. No family, very few friends. He was a loner. Heíd been driving big rigs for twenty years now. He enjoyed traveling and the time he had to himself. Nick didnít understand, however, why he was drawn to this diner. He always found himself here--at Luckyís--not even sure how he got there. He could be headed in the opposite direction and heíd look up, and he was here. Same time, every time. Same food. Same conversation. Same person.

Nick walked into the diner shaking the snow from his hat and his worn jacket.

"Hey there stranger. Long time no see," Mel smiled at Nick, as she walked towards the kitchen.

Nick returned the smile. "Hey there Mel. Howís it going?" Nick took a seat at the counter.

"Itís going pretty well. I havenít seen you for a spell. Where you been hiding?" She asked, as she cracked a couple of eggs into a bowl.

"Oh, Iíve been a little bit under the weather..."

"Sorry to hear that, suga. Hope you feeliní better."

"Yeah, Iím alright."

"Okay. Kinda missed you Ďround here," she said winking at him from the kitchen. "I didnít haveís no one to cook for," she smiled. "Nick, is that a blush I see on your face?"

"Oh stop it, Mel," he laughed. In fact, he was blushing. Mel made Nick feel like a twelve year old school boy.

"Well, Iíll be damned. You are blushing. I think Iím finally getting to you!" Mel took a steak from the refrigerator and placed it on the grill.

"Well, I guess you just have that way with you," Nick said softly.

Mel picked up the pot of coffee and grabbed a mug. She poured him some coffee, adding two sugars, and a dash of cream -- just the way Nick liked it. She pushed the mug in front of him. She stood silently, watching him.

"This certainly smells good, Mel." He said looking up. "I ainít gonna lie to you; I sure missed your coffee." He smiled, holding the mug in his hands.

Mel stood with her hand on her hip, and nodded hesitantly. She reached and touched Nick's forehead with the back of her hand.

"Youís alright, suga? I donít know...you seem a little different," she noted with concern in her voice.

Nick put the mug down. "Just feels like IĎm forgetting something." His lips curled into a smile, and his eyes got a sparkle in them. "But Iím fine, Mel." He crossed his heart. "Scoutís honor." He smiled.

Mel laughed. "Yeah, okay. If youíre a boy scout, then Iím Joan of Arc!" She laughed as she walked back to the kitchen. "How you want your eggs, suga," she yelled over her shoulder.

"Same as always: green pepper, onions, and mushrooms."

"Give me five..."

Nick looked around the diner, trying to remember the first time heíd come there. He really couldnít recall. His memory hadnít been so great lately. He always felt like he was forgetting something. He looked up and Mel was standing before him.

"Hey sugaí. Just the way you like; soft omelet with green peppers, onions and mushrooms. And a nice juicy steak, medium rare." Mel sat the plate down.

"Thanks Mel. You treat me so well," Nick smiled. "Looks great. Smells good, too."

"Anything for you Nick."

"So, do I get to meet Lucky this time?" Nick asked picking up his knife and fork.

"I donít know. Seems like you two never gonna meet. But thatís okay. I kinda likes having you all to myself," she laughed.

Nick never really thought about it; Mel was the only one he ever saw at the Diner. It didnít matter when he showed up; it was always just him and Mel. He didnít mind. Mel was good company. Besides, he didnít believe a woman should be working the late shift by herself.

********

"So, any plans for Christmas?"

"No."

Mel wrapped her scarf around her neck. "Tell you what...come home with me?"

Nick almost choked on his omelet. "No, no. I couldnít impose," he said coughing.

"You alright?" Mel ran a hand over Nick's back.

"Hmm...Yeah...Iím good," He said clearing his throat.

"Really. Come on over. I hate to think of you in some dingy motel for the holidays. I wouldnít feel right. Besides, my family wonít mind. And it will give my husband someone new to talk to. Heís been going a little house crazy lately; not being able to work and all." Mel placed a hand on Nickís shoulder and squeezed. "What do you say?" She tilted her head and pouted her lips, batting her eyes.

Nick chortled. He could feel himself blushing again. "You sure he wonít mind?"

"Iím sure. No one should be alone for Christmas."

"Okay. Iíd love to."

"Good."

"You know, you really shouldnít bat your eyes like that. Youíre liable to give a man high blood pressure!" Nick teased.

"Who me?" Mel feigned ignorance. "Whatever do you mean, sir?" She laughed, fanning herself with her hand.

Nick shook his head. "You are too much, Mel! But a southern belle ainĎt one of Ďem!"

"Yeah. I know. Now you sound like my husband. You two will get along just fine."

Mel finished cleaning off the counters and putting things away, as Nick finished his meal. She placed his plate in the dishwasher, and grabbed her coat and keys.

"My car's out back," she motioned to Nick.

"Alright." Nick fastened his jacket, and waited for Mel.

Mel locked the front door and hit the lights. "Your rig will be fine. No one hardly passes this way on holidays."

Nick shrugged. "I ainít worried none. Ainít much in there anyways." He held the door open for Mel.

Nick watched Mel lock the back door. He smiled as she walked toward him. He started to say something when he noticed Mel freeze. He turned, following her stare, and saw a flash of lightÖ


********

Montclair TimesÖ

...After twenty years, Richard Lake admits to killing his wife, Melody Lake and trucker Nick Wilkins, on the morning of December 25th, 1987. Mr. Lake suspected his wife of cheating with the owner, Lucky Owens. He admits to shooting both his wife and Mr. Wilkins in a fit of rage and jealousy...Although closed shortly after, some say every Christmas eve, there is a light in the Diner, and two people can be seen sitting at the counter...


********

Nick walked into the diner shaking the snow from his hat and his worn jacket.

"Hey there stranger. Long time no see," Mel smiled at Nick as she walked towards the kitchen.

Nick returned the smile. "Hey there Mel. Howís it going?" Nick took a seat at the counter.

"Itís going pretty well. I havenít seen you for a spell. Where you been hiding?" She asked, as she cracked a couple of eggs into a bowl.

"Oh, Iíve been a little bit under the weather..."

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